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Monday , December 27 , 2010
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Isro checks rocket failure data
- Experts believe communication wire snapped immediately after lift-off

Bangalore, Dec. 26 (PTI): India’s top space scientists are analysing data to find out what caused the satellite launch to fail yesterday and an expert committee is likely to be formed soon.

“Teams are looking at the data to find out the reason,” said Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) spokesperson S. Satish.

“A failure analysis committee is likely to be formed in the next one or two days,” he added.

Yesterday, a launcher rocket carrying India’s heaviest communication satellite exploded within a minute after lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Initial data indicated that the control command signals from the rocket’s onboard computer failed to reach the first-stage circuits, causing the vehicle to lose altitude, veer off its flight path and crack up under the heavy load on its structure, Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan said yesterday.

Top scientists today said they suspected that a connector chord, which takes the signal down, had snapped.

The committee to be formed is expected to be similar to the one set up after the failure of another satellite, the GSLV-D3, on April 15.

The officials, among them multi-disciplinary experts, concluded that the primary cause for the failure was the sudden loss of thrust in one of the four liquid propellant strap-on stages just 0.2 seconds after lift-off.

With only three strap-on stages working, there was significant reduction in the control capability. The vehicle altitude could be controlled till about 50 seconds.

U.R. Rao, a veteran space scientist, has strongly vouched for the robustness of the indigenously-built GSLV, saying it was a well-proved rocket and that “quality problem” led to its failure. He said unlike the GSLV failure on April 15 when the fault was at the cryogenic stage, the problem yesterday was at the first stage itself.        

Rao said the first stage is “well-proven” and “we must be able to get back to the rails very quickly”.        

“Once in a while, these things (failures) do happen. It has happened with Ariane (European space consortium) and Shuttle (of Nasa),” he pointed out.        

Rao said he did not foresee any impact of yesterday’s launch failure on India’s space programme, but acknowledged that it would take time to “sort out enormous data” and find out the ”problem” that led to the unsuccessful mission.

He also said he believes that the failure would not lead to a delay in the 2013-scheduled Chandrayaan-2 mission.

Yesterday’s failure is the second setback for India’s space programme this year.

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